After a disappointing start to the Calgary Flames season, many fans are feeling nervous for the upcoming games. Would moving Michael Frolik up to first line help this struggling team?
The Calgary Flames are now 0-2-1 to start their first three games of the season. Definitely not a good start and not a way to make playoffs.
Currently, RW Michael Frolik is on the third line with the all Michael/Mikael/Micheal line. Head coach Glen Gulutzan did change that to start the third game of the season against the Vancouver Canucks and moved Micheal Ferland to the fourth line.
So we need to ask: Would moving a player up from third line to first line make a big difference?
Froliking Around the Penalty Kill
We already know how good Frolik is on the penalty kill. Netting his first goal of the season in the first game during the penalty kill and getting two short-handed goals last season in March, and netting another two assists on shorthanded goals last season. Frolik got two shorthanded goals in a single game on March 15th, which is the first time a Flame has done that since 1998. He’s also only the fourth Flame in franchise history to do so.
Frolik was also a big part in the Chicago Blackhawks penalty killing success in the 2012-2013 season. He led penalty killing ice-time among all forwards alongside his penalty killing partner Marcus Kruger. Flames fans should be wary of how valuable he is on the penalty kill.
A Change In Momentum?
Like this year, the Calgary Flames had a slow start to their season last year as well, going 1-4-0 in their first five games. Something the coaching staff found necessary was mixing the lines up a bit, and they moved Frolik to the first line alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. So this should be something familiar to Flames fans. This isn’t to discredit Kris Versteeg‘s ability, who currently plays on the first line. But sometimes a mix-up of lines is what a team needs. We see this a lot in hockey with goaltending. Sometimes in a game, a goalie could let in 4 goals on 12 shots. Not necessarily the goaltender’s fault, but taking him out and putting in the other goalie is a change the team needs. A simple goaltending change can completely change the momentum in a game and lead a team to a comeback victory.
Like I mentioned, Frolik got bumped up to first line after a slow start to the season last year.
"“After many years of marriage, sometimes a weekend off is good.” Former Flames head coach Bob Hartley told Flames media last year."
Of course, that was referring to Gaudreau, Monahan, and former Flame Jiri Hudler. They had a lot of success as a trio in the 2014-2015 season, and were only split up two other times. And like the Hartley quote, sometimes you need to split.
Of course, we know that Gaudreau and Monahan haven’t been playing that long with new Flame Kris Versteeg. But maybe by moving Frolik up to first line, we can begin a new marriage; a new kind of era. Something similar we saw with Gaudreau, Monahan, and Hudler.
And we can get this died down Flame lit up again.